It didn’t take long for Mize to shift its focus to St. Patrick. Sweeping Bay Springs with a 10-1 win in Game 2 Saturday night of the Class 2A first-round playoff series, Bulldogs head baseball coach Adam Dyess had few words to his team about its win and more on the daunting task ahead.
“St. Patrick is doing everything that any high school baseball coach in South Mississippi wants to have done at this time of the year,” said Dyess. “They’re getting hot at the right time. Coach [Eddie] Burger does an excellent job with those guys. They’re very well funded, very well equipped, they have an outstanding coaching staff, and they have some players. They had a slow start to the season, but the thing that every coach wants that they’re doing is that they’re getting hot at the right time.”
St. Patrick (13-9) swept Bogue Chitto in the first round of the playoffs, 16-3 and 14-1.
“Last week they went on the road and handled one of the biggest schools in Mississippi, which is Harrison Central,” said Dyess. And Harrison Central is a known baseball school. They beat them 8-3, and I know they swept Bogue Chitto tonight.
“St. Patrick finished 7-1 in their division, and they’re technically a two-seed because of a first place tie-breaker that came down to the last run. And that was against a team that advanced to South State last year and put us out in a sweep – Perry Central. So they are very good. I don’t know if they have any D1 arms or anything like that. I think they play the game the right way and are a tough out. The last time we played them was a highly intense game.”
Mize got its sweep Saturday night by scored runs in every inning but the first and fifth inning. The Bulldogs shut out Bay Springs 4-0 on the night prior in Game 1 of the playoff series.
“Going back to Game 1, our offensive approach was not very good,” said Dyess. “We lifted the ball too much, and we expanded the zone too much I felt like. In BP today, we insisted on correcting that and moving on. I thought in Game 2 we had a better approach and thought process.”
Almost all of Mize’s first six runs came with two outs, like that in the second inning when Clayton Childress and Dylan Reeves combined for back-to-back triples down the right-field line to go up 1-0. Dyess said most of his team’s hits and runs came about due to good two-strike approaches.
“I was happy with that, but a lot of our scores with two outs happened because of our two-strike approaches,” said Dyess. There were several two-out runs we produced with two strikes in the count, whether it was 2-2 or 1-2. That was one thing we tried to fix for the game.”
Mize blistered out 14 hits in the 10-1 win. Reeves and Dylan Sullivan led the Bulldogs with three hits apiece. Sullivan finished tied at the top with two RBI.
John Riley and Zach Griffith shared time on the mound. Riley started the game and lasted till the fifth, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out six Bay Springs batters. Griffith finished the game in the sixth and seventh, allowing one hit and striking out five.
“Riley did a great job for us,” said Dyess. “He threw five complete on 72 pitches and in all batters faced, I think he started behind in the count on about 30 percent of them, so that’s not a bad job.
“At the point in the game where it looked like there wouldn’t be a Game 3, we brought in Zach Griffith. He’ll have to toe the rubber in a big Game 3, so we wanted to get him some work in.”